California dreamin'

Cynthia Sikes's adventures in Hollywood

STORY BY Karen Long

On a recent sunny and unseasonably warm morning in November, an LA breeze wafted into old town's Caffe Moderne in the form of Cynthia Sikes. a statuesque brunette with an easy laugh, the former Miss Kansas and Miss Wichita sat down over cappuccinos to chat about her decades-long career in TV and film.

During the 80's, Sikes played Dr. Annie Cavanero on the Emmy-winning drama, St. Elsewhere, and guest starred on series ranging from Magnum, P.I. to L.A. Law to Jag. She also appeared in movies such as Arthur 2: On The Rocks with Dudley Moore and Liza Minnelli, which was directed by Sikes's husband, Bud Yorkin.

In a recent Reunions issue of Entertainment Weekly, Sikes appeared in a photo spread with the St. Elsewhere cast, arm-in-arm with Ed Begley, Jr. "I had a nice talk with Mark Harmon," she said of the photo shoot. "I run into Ed once in awhile. Mark I hadn't seen in a long, long time, so we had a nice time."

Reviving the replicants

In the past 3 years the winds of Sikes's career have shifted toward being an executive producer. Yorkin is a respected producer and director, and together they're pulling together some of the original creators of the sci-fi cult classic, Blade Runner, to make a sequel.

"A lot of people want to stone us for doing it," she said. "You go on the Internet and a lot of people are immediately completely upset about it, How can you do this this iconic movie? They thought it was going to be a remake or something, but we're not remaking. It's a sequel and it's basically 30 years later."

Ridley Scott, director of the original Blade Runner, and also Alien and Prometheus, has signed on to the sequel and will ramp up next spring after the script is finished. He"ll be working with one of the original Blade Runner screenwriters, Hampton Fancher. Sikes worked with Fancher developing the script treatment for the new film and she confirms that it will feature a female protagonist, but will continue the theme of futuristic bounty hunters "retiring" illegal replicants.

"It's pretty amazing," she said of the screenwriting process. "He's a genius I"m like, Oh my gosh, I'm surrounded by these iconic people."

Botox and reality shows

"Hollywood's a very challenging way to live," Sikes said. "In the Midwest you don't grow up having these Jerry Springer like fights with women and these housewives-of-whatever, and you're not punching and screaming at each other and shooting up your face with fat from your butt. And so especially with my daughter you think, Wow, this is not normal. You don't want to aspire to this."

Sikes put her career on hold to focus on her two children: Jessica, who just turned 20, and Michael, who's in the process of applying to college. How do you raise healthy children in an atmosphere charged with Botox and fake tanner? "You gotta stay on it. That's why I don't want to be gone things are changing on a daily basis: What's going on in school? What do you have to get ready for? Who are your friends? You've got to be part of it. I think having a marriage and family is stabilizing, because otherwise you're looking outside of yourself all the time for your identity."

This is a former Kansas girl who now lives in the perpetual summer of SoCal and pals around with the likes of Clint Eastwood, George Clooney, Robert Wagoner and Jill St. John is there anything she misses from her hometown? "You cannot find barbeque. That's a sadness. You can't find barbeque."

For more Cynthia Sikes stories about being part of the Bob Hope USO tour, the Blade Runner sequel, and more Hollywood dish, check out the interview here.

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